President Obama said his failure to enact comprehensive immigration reform during his first term shouldn’t disillusion Hispanic voters who supported him in 2008. “I’ve got another five years,” Obama told the Spanish-language radio network Univision in an interview that aired today.
“We’re going to get this done. And absolutely, we have strong support in the Latino community because they’ve seen what we’ve been working on,” he said.
Obama made the comments during a phone interview with host Eddie “Piolin” Sotelo taped Wednesday ahead of his trip to Hispanic-heavy Florida today for a speech on the economy and three campaign fundraisers.
“Unfortunately, the Republican side, which used to at least give lip service to immigration reform, now they’ve gone completely to a different place,” Obama said, “and have shown themselves unwilling to talk at all about any sensible solutions to this issue, and we’re going to have to just keep up the pressure until they act.”
Obama did not mention the failure of the Democratically-controlled Congress of acting on immigration reform legislation during the first two years of his term or opposition from within his own party to a path to legal status for some of the nation’s 12 million illegal immigrants.
“So far, we haven’t seen any of the Republican candidates even support immigration reform. In fact, their leading candidate said he would veto even the Dream Act, much less comprehensive immigration reform,” Obama said referring to GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney. “So the choice at the presidential level will not be that difficult.”
Obama won 67 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008 to John McCain’s 32 percent. Recent polls show approval of Obama has slid significantly since 2008, though he remains favored nationally in hypothetical general election match-ups with Republican candidates.